Republicans are Posing a Growing Threat in Blue States

Calm down, Democrats, Donald Trump will not, as some zealous Maga types fantasise, take New York this election. Nor will he win over New Jersey, although the race may be closer there. California, as we New York natives would say: fuggedaboutit.

But the Trump surge in deep blue places, epitomised by successful rallies in the Bronx and the Jersey shore, reveals a great deal about shifting political allegiances. In New York, which Trump lost by 23 points in 2020, the former president is now within nine points. In New Jersey, where he lost by 16, the margin is down to five. If Trump forces Biden and the Democrats to deploy forces to these places, he is very likely to win a second term.

Democrats have ample reason to “freak out” about their incoherent and doddering leader. But they would also be well-served to realise that voters do not like to live in a failed state. After all, the deep blue bastions now lag behind the red states in nearly every conceivable category. Over the past year, for example, job growth in New York and New Jersey has lagged far behind that seen in red Florida, Texas, and South Carolina. Income growth is roughly 40% higher in these states than in New York and New Jersey, as well as other blue state laggards California, Illinois, and Oregon.

Most revealing is that many residents of these blue states are already voting with their feet. In the past decade, five southern states — Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina, along with Arizona in the West — exceeded the growth of all of the other (44) states and DC, according to the census. This pattern has accelerated since 2020, with southern states gaining 1.7 million people, while the other three census regions (Northeast, Midwest, and West) all had net domestic migration losses. In 2023, southern states accounted for 87% of all US population growth.

New York, New Jersey, and California are all losing residents, often to these same states. Last year, New York, California and Illinois lost more people to out-migration than any other states. Demographer Wendell Cox notes that the largest percentage loss of residents occurred in big core cities such as New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

In contrast, populations grew in sprawling areas such as Phoenix, Dallas, and Orlando. But although New York City had the biggest losses, an outstanding eight out of every 10 New York towns have also witnessed population declines since 2020. Overall, 90% of US growth last year was outside of big cities, the electoral base of the Democrats.

This red state surge is likely to continue given that red states have significantly higher birth rates. Over time, notes demographer Lyman Stone, this may constitute a “conservative fertility advantage”.

Indeed, many from the groups who add most to the baby supply — minorities, millennials and immigrants — are also moving to red states. In the past, both African Americans and immigrants headed to the West Coast, the Northeast and Chicago, where they felt welcome and saw opportunity. Now they are migrating instead to Dallas, Miami and even small towns in the Midwest. Los Angeles’s foreign-born population even declined over the past decade. Similarly, before the pandemic, affluent young professionals were heading to less expensive and congested cities in search of homes in places they could afford.

Read the rest of this piece at UnHerd.


Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and and directs the Center for Demographics and Policy there. Learn more at joelkotkin.com and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr CC 2.0 License.

Progressive Geography’s Intellectual Dead End

Americans are familiar with steep political divisions on issues like race, class, and gender. Perhaps less understood, but arguably more definitive, is the widening gap between the cognitive elites concentrated in big cities and the rest of the country. In our current “war against the masses,” to quote the late Fred Siegel, geography plays an increasingly dominant role.

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Trudeau, Biden Paying Political Price as the West Turns Against Immigration

U.S. President Joe Biden, in one of his regularly inept utterances, recently castigated Japan and other East Asian countries for being “xenophobic,” compared to the relatively immigrant-friendly United States. The president surely made no friends, but actually spoke something of the truth, or perhaps more of a half-truth. Read more

California’s Broken Diversity Promise

Few states are more ostentatious in their concern for racial equality and minority uplift than California. The Golden State leads the nation in promoting racial reparations, doggedly supports affirmative-action quotas, and pays students to teach educators about implicit bias. From his first day in office, Governor Gavin Newsom has deemed addressing inequality a “moral imperative” in his fight for “a California for all.”

A new report from Chapman University’s Center for Demographics and Policy, to which we both contributed, suggests the state is falling short of these lofty ideals. We and our coauthors demonstrate how California’s Latinos, who account for nearly 40 percent of the state’s population and over half of its residents under age 18, lag significantly behind their peers in rival states like Texas and Florida in terms of incomes, homeownership, and education. California’s policy agenda, with its dual focus on welfare expansion and climate alarmism, has undermined the economic potential of the state’s Latinos—and undercut the governor’s promises.

The problems start at the aggregate level. California has the nation’s highest unemployment rate and slowest pace of job growth, along with a huge structural budget deficit. California creates middle-income jobs—critical for Latinos seeking to climb the income ladder—at among the lowest rates in the country. Over the past decade, the state has lost 1.6 million above-average-paying jobs, and 85 percent of its new positions have been in the lower-paying service sector.

Here the aspirations of both Latino entrepreneurs and workers could be crushed. The Small Business Regulation Index ranks California’s as the worst business climate for small firms, which disproportionately harms Latinos, whose businesses tend to be smaller and less capitalized. California’s recently mandated $20 minimum hourly wage for fast-food workers, for example, may help some individual Latinos, but it could both reduce total employment and threaten the livelihoods of smaller franchisees, many of whom are minorities.

Latino residents also are particularly vulnerable to California’s war on the carbon economy. Hispanics make up well over 90 percent of the state’s agricultural workers, more than 50 percent of its construction workers, and roughly 30 percent of its oil and gas workers—precisely the kinds of jobs that California’s green agenda disfavors.

For Latinos in California, the impact of that agenda shows up most clearly in the logistics industry. As Chapman University Business School professor Marshall Toplansky notes, Hispanics make up roughly 50 percent of California’s transportation workers, the highest percentage of any state. The Golden State’s green mandates, which encourage shipping companies to pursue rapid electrification, will likely send shippers to other ports. Electric trucks, with their huge batteries, can cost over $400,000 per vehicle; they cannot run long hauls without stopping for lengthy charging periods, undermining the economics of a trucking fleet.

Read the rest of this piece at City Journal.


Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and and directs the Center for Demographics and Policy there. Learn more at joelkotkin.com and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.

Soledad Ursúa is Principal at Orinoco Equities and is a member of the board of directors of the Venice Neighborhood Council in the Los Angeles area. Her undergraduate degree from University of California Santa Barbara was in Global and International Studies and Spanish. She has a master’s in finance from the New School and worked in the New York venture capital industry.

Homepage photo: Omar Lopez, via Unsplash under CC 1.0 License.

2024 Will Be the Latino Election

The key voting bloc in American politics is not the black or Evangelical vote – it’s the Latinos. Now by far the largest racial minority in the nation, Latinos are also the great contested electoral territory. Read more

The Myth of America’s Decline

North America may suffer from some of the world’s poorest political leadership. Yet it seems destined to remain the wealthiest, most dominant place on Earth.

This may come as a surprise to many. After all, generations of pundits have insisted that the future will be forged elsewhere – Europe for some, Japan for others and, more recently, China. But none have the resources, the dynamic population and innovative acumen of North Americans.

Once taken for granted, China’s claim to the future is looking especially wobbly. In 2018, Chinese foreign ministry official Zhao Lijian described efforts to slow China’s dominion as being ‘as stupid as Don Quixote versus the windmills’. He added that ‘China’s win is unstoppable’. Today, China’s triumph looks far from inevitable. Projections that China could surpass the US in terms of aggregate economic output as soon as 2028 are being readjusted to 2036. Some now believe it won’t happen at all.

As for Japan or the EU, neither are likely to ever surpass the US. Each has experienced consistently slower growth. According to International Monetary Fund data, the eurozone economy grew about six per cent over the past 15 years, compared with growth of 82 per cent for the US during the same period. Europe’s once formidable industrial base has eroded in large part due to the ever rising burden of regulation. Germany’s economy, the most powerful economy in the EU, is barely the size of that of California.

Nothing better reflects the tectonic shift in global economic power than investment flows. Between 2012 and 2022, US inbound foreign investment swelled by nearly $100 billion in adjusted dollars, well above the level of investment into China. Levels of inbound investment into the EU and the UK have actually fallen during the same period.

Indeed, investment in China dropped from more than $300 billion in 2021 to a 30-year low of less than $50 billion in 2023. Other parts of Asia are headed West. Last year, Taiwan-based TSMC, the world’s leading semiconductor foundry, decided to build a $12 billion new plant in Arizona. Samsung, a huge Korean chipmaker, is also shopping for sites for a $17 billion plant in the US.

The US is also the world’s preeminent military power. Although somewhat degraded from its Reagan-era strength, and challenged increasingly by China’s expansion, the US military remains the dominant force on Earth. The US spends roughly 3.5 per cent of GDP in defence and has a military budget roughly five times that for the combined militaries of the UK, France and Germany. Despite some recent increases, most European countries fail to spend even two per cent of GDP on defence. They have, until now, depended largely on the US to keep the Ukrainian cause alive. In recent months, European countries have once again been asking the US to protect what are really their own critical shipping lanes in the Red Sea.

Why America leads the way

The resurgence of North America clearly does not stem from either the leadership of doddering US president Joe Biden, who seems barely in control of his own White House, or his rival, the clearly demented Donald Trump. Nor has Canada’s uber-woke prime minister, Justin Trudeau, been of any help. Rather, the key lies in three factors: natural resources, technological dominance and demographic vitality.

Overall, natural resources account for more than half of all Canada’s exports and roughly one-quarter of those of the US. Together the US and Canada produce roughly twice as much oil as either Russia or Saudi Arabia. Fossil fuels, the demon rum of the green catastrophists, are not going away, even in Europe.

Read the rest of this piece at Spiked.


Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and and directs the Center for Demographics and Policy there. Learn more at joelkotkin.com and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.

Homepage photo: Nikolas Zane, via Flickr, under CC 2.0 License.

Why Are Americans Becoming More Stupid?

“The empires of the future are the empires of the mind,” said Winston Churchill. And judging by the state of education in America, it seems both of those empires could soon crumble. The dysfunction is evident from top to bottom: from Ivy League outposts down to the secondary schools. Both are producing a generation that is ill-informed, illiterate and innumerate. In other words, a generation increasingly ill-suited to function as productive citizens in a democracy.

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Class of ’24

Most political coverage in America revolves around personalities, stratagems, and the cultural issues that appeal to the activist class in both parties. Yet the real determinant in 2024 will not be abortion, “systemic racism,” gender fluidity, or climate change, but deepening class divides. Read more

Downtown San Francisco is Beyond Redemption

The recent announcement that Ian Jacobs, a scion of the famous Toronto-based Reichmann real estate clan, was coming to buy upwards of $900 million of San Francisco real estate, has offered the beleaguered California city a rare moment of hope. Some suggest that we could see a repeat of New York’s recovery from its nadir in the 1970s, during which the Reichmanns made a fortune gobbling up depressed buildings shortly before the city’s resurgence.

Yet any effort to restore San Francisco’s appeal will need more than an infusion of vulture capital. The city’s problems are essentially demographic and political, and have transformed San Francisco from an icon to a disaster zone, particularly as workers opt for remote work. The city’s office vacancy rate continues to rise, now surpassing 35%, the highest in its history.

To be sure, San Francisco has been losing its middle class for decades, replaced initially by young single people, many of whom are tied to the tech industry. But as early as 2015, the city began losing net domestic migrants as growth shifted to the further exurbs.

Since the pandemic, the city’s population has dropped and its social problems, long festering, have become a running sore. That’s likely why up to 10% of San Francisco’s residents have left the city — far more than in New York. “A lot of people have had it,” Heather Gonzalez, a longtime Democratic activist and mother of two, told me. “We have had neighbours and an elderly grandfather beat up on a bus and my kids have to watch people poop in public on Market Street. This is what we have to go through.”

Yet there is some hope, Gonzalez suggests. She points to the recent recall of ultra progressives including the District Attorney and three school board members. There’s also been a concerted effort by moderate Democrats to root the radical Left’s hold on the party as well as an effort to replace several far-Left members of the Board of Supervisors.

Amid a severe budget deficit, these efforts are critical. The city’s understaffed police department is almost certain to lose the battle for resources with the city’s dominant and fervently Leftist public employee unions. That the city now suffers the second highest violent crime rate in California illustrates just how important this battle is.

These reform efforts finally have some backing now from the tech oligarchs, who in recent years have been indifferent or even supportive of the progressive agenda. This has roiled the Left-wing activists who see any movement backed by the billionaire class as a hostile takeover.

Yet even if the city somehow regains its ballast, Reichman may be looking at the wrong places to invest. Although the office market may recover, the movement of business out of the state continues in a way far more profound than in New York back in the 1970s.

Read the rest of this piece at UnHerd.


Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director for Urban Reform Institute. Learn more at joelkotkin.com and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.

Homepage photo: Ken Lund, via Flickr under CC 2.5 License.

Is Gen Z Turning Against Western Civilization?

The younger generations seem increasingly crazed. A worrying proportion of the young sympathises with those who launch terror attacks against Israel, supports the immediate elimination of fossil fuels or demands the wiping out of gender distinctions. All these positions are troubling in themselves, but they also reflect a deeper malady – a mostly apolitical breakdown of social norms, personal interaction, literacy and logical thinking.

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